welfare

Root Causes


Regular readers will likely recognize that over the years I have tried to understand why citizens on the far right portion of our politics consistently vote against their own interests. I’ve dabbled in guessing why they’re willing to believe fantastical fantasies and why they are so violent in spirit and in actions. Perhaps most important, I’ve scrambled for a foothold of understanding of why they gladly do unpatriotic things, yet consider themselves patriots. I think I’m coming to a more complete answer. Let’s start with a little walk through history.

Seattle Hooverville, 1932

Republican Herbert Hoover was elected in 1928. He had been a mining engineer, a business oriented fellow. Eight months after he took office the economy began its greatest crash and Hoover sat on his hands and watched as the savings from lifetimes of work evaporated and 25% of Americans wanting work were out of work. Their families were in terrible distress. Hoover told Americans to carry on, that things would get better, but in his complete absence of vision he did nothing to help, which led to Hoovervilles all across the country. By 1932 things had become far worse. That’s when ordinary Americans decided that a wealthy patrician understood them and their challenges better than the Republicans did and they elected Democrat FDR to be president. It turned out that they were right.

FDR invented the WPA and the CCC and mounted massive infrastructure projects like the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Hoover Dam that brought electricity to millions of people. More important than that, those projects brought honest work and good pay to Americans, which brought with it the dignity of being able to care for one’s family and oneself. FDR was so popular that he was elected to the presidency four times, with his last victory coming even as the nation knew he was dying. He was that popular.

And that’s why Republicans hated him and his projects that put Americans back to work. They have been trying to kill all social and commons programs since then. And preventing that kind of success for Americans is exactly why today’s Republicans want Joe Biden to fail.

Several Republican presidents wanted to get Social Security privatized to benefit fat cats, like the ones who brought us the Great Depression and the Great Recession. When President Johnson created Medicare, Medicaid and his Great Society Program, Republicans were apoplectic and they have tried to kill all of those programs, too. I don’t know what they want to do about President Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway System – maybe they want to privatize them and let the fat cats charge tolls. Here’s the thing:

Republicans hate anything that smacks of work done in the commons and things that directly benefit the people. But the people love that stuff. And people become very angry and feel betrayed when things they’ve counted on are taken away. Think about what Republicans have to do, then, to get elected.

That’s right: they lie.

Reagan told lies about non-existent Black welfare queens living like actual queens. He told of “young bucks” – his term – meaning young Black men scamming the welfare system. His doing that makes sense, because it appealed to White fear, which brought him support. Bear in mind that Reagan opposed not just welfare, but also the Brown v. Board of Education decision. How convenient it was for him to latch onto welfare lies and appeal to White supremacy, not bothering to mention that the majority of welfare recipients were White. He just threw out hateful dog whistles that appealed to the fearful and the haters.

Then he stoked distrust and hatred of government itself, even as he was leading the government. He told Americans that, “Government isn’t the solution to the problem; government is the problem.” It was a new verbalization of opposition to all social programs. Surely, we wouldn’t want to support anything that helps those lazy, shiftless “others,” right?

As I said: lies.

Bush II was a lie spewing machine, corrupting the Constitution every day and calling it patriotism. And the patriotic thing played well. He told us, “You’re either with us or you’re against us,” and Americans lined up, not wanting to be left behind and thought of as unpatriotic. Republicans are still playing that card. They do that even as they ended programs that would help Americans.

Manufacturing jobs were shipped overseas and citizens were left with nothing. They were betrayed by their own government. (Full disclosure: Clinton was complicit in that.) They call that patriotism and rugged individualism, “right sizing” and freedom and a lot of other fine sounding names. They use their superb propaganda machine to get people to believe their fantasy, just like a circus sideshow barker. It turn out they really can fool some of the people all of the time, even as they are being betrayed.

All the propaganda and all the betrayal has stoked the anger of the people. Plus, it’s plain that Whites will no longer be a majority in this country in just a couple of decades, so Whites fear their hands will slip from the reins of power. The knowledge of that has brought more levers for Republicans to manipulate the people, like gerrymandering, the filibuster and voter suppression.

People are left in quite a confusing and simplistic mess.

Their anger is so great that they’d rather infect and kill their loved ones and die themselves, than follow simple government health guidelines crafted by doctors and scientists.

They’re so blinded by their distrust of government that they believe conspiracies too loony even for a cartoon and they agitate for autocracy that would make them serfs to the ultra-wealthy.

Their sense of betrayal is so overpowering that they refuse simple and obvious realities and reject as cheating anything that doesn’t go their way.

Their fear and anger are so great that they metaphorically have a middle finger extended at all times just to feel powerful.

All of that is orchestrated and overheated by big money puppet masters who manipulate fears and anger, so that the people blindly follow leaders and a party that literally have no policies other than to obstruct and disempower everyone but themselves.

So, the people cheer and send contributions to politicians who stand against the very things that would help the people, like the infrastructure bill and the good jobs that will bring; like voting rights, gun safety, reasonable cost pharmaceuticals, child care, medical insurance and broadband. With every vote or obstruction to voting on those issues and with every manufactured barrier to voting and with every appeal to fear and anger, the manipulators appeal for donations to Trump-fearing GOP sycophants in congress and in the states and municipalities. Those dollars are then used to further diminish the future of the voters and the voters’ children.

But the people don’t see that, because they are so angry. Worse, they don’t realize they’ve been hoodwinked for generations. And that is why our citizens on the far right of the political spectrum consistently and unknowingly vote against their own interests, leaving them nothing but their rage and whatever weapons they own in order to feel powerful and in control of themselves.

It’s all about anger, fear and hopelessness and how easy it is to manipulate people who feel that way.
.

Do you doubt that? Watch Adam Kinzinger’s short video and his appeal for Country First.

A Tale of 4s In 2021

Unemployment dropped from 6.2% to 4.2%.

– Wages rose approximately 4% – the final annual numbers aren’t in yet.

– The economy is so strong that there are 4 million more job openings than Americans seeking employment.

– We added 4.6 million jobs. Or is it 6.2 million? Not sure, but it’s a good number.

Republicans, please stop telling Americans how awful our economy is and how the Democrats are ruining it, because that’s just another Republican lie.

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The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

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The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

A Little COVID And a Snake


Infection Section

I heard a nurse saying that she refuses to be vaccinated because the vaccine won’t prevent her from spreading the virus, should she become infected. She may be right. But what she ignores is the obvious, that if she and those she encounters, like her husband, her kids, her friends and the clerk at the supermarket all get vaccinated, there will be no virus to pass along. She knows she’s rolling the dice for herself, but she refuses to do her part for the rest of us.

Questions for our religious refusers – maybe including that nurse:

  1. Are you your brother’s keeper, or has that been superseded by “It’s all about ME?”
  2. And that Golden Rule thing – whatever happened to that?

One more time: The refusers have the freedom to refuse to be vaccinated. Maybe they’ll live; maybe they’ll die. It’s a risk they take knowingly. But under no circumstances do they have the right to infect others.

What About the Kids?

Click the chart for the KFF study

The chart on the left is from a Kaiser Family Foundation poll, which reports that 24% of parents definitely won’t (green bars) get their 5 – 11 year old kids vaccinated. To be fair, the data shows that unvaccinated kids are much like our vaccinated elderly, in terms of protection from serious complications from COVID. Nevertheless, kids are dying from this disease. We can prevent that from happening, but not by continuing to do what’s getting kids killed.

Was it this hard in the 1950s to get kids vaccinated against polio? Were parents then really willing to go bare and risk their kids’ lives and the lives of other kids for some misplaced sense of freedom? They weren’t, but millions are doing that now.

A Little Horsing Around

The picture of the horse and the post below are from the FDA.

 

Ivermectin is not only not an authorized treatment for COVID, but there is no peer reviewed medical data that says Ivermectin does anything helpful for patients with COVID. Unless, of course, they also had intestinal parasites. At least those patients who self-medicate with Ivermectin will know that when they die from COVID they won’t have worms in their GI system.

Big 4-year Trump dip. Now the world sees us coming back. Kind of like after George W. Bush. We came back then, too. Create your own story line for what you see.

A COVID Bookkeeping Adjustment

There are about 64 million adults refusing to be vaccinated. In addition, as stated above, about 24% of parents intend to refuse to allow their children ages 5 – 11 to be vaccinated. The data – the science –  is clear that over 98% of COVID hospitalizations and deaths are of people who are not vaccinated. They are the glut of patients that have overwhelmed our healthcare workers.

We’ve made vaccinations available in over 89,000 pharmacies, in school gymnasiums, in drive-through hospital parking lots and elsewhere. Plus, the vaccinations are free to the stick-ee. We couldn’t have made it easier to become protected, but still people proclaim their freedom and their conspiracy nonsense. Then they clog up our hospitals and dump an inhumane workload on our medical people. Because of the enormous medical overload, care is now being rationed in several states, which means that people suffering from strokes, heart attacks, cancer, automobile collisions and other maladies can’t get the care they need. That isn’t okay. Fortunately, I have a cure for this.

Many of the refusers are getting cash from the government in one form or another. Some collect Social Security. Some get agriculture subsidies. Some get the benefits of Medicare or Medicaid or child tax credits or federal pensions.

They refuse to do what will protect themselves and, therefore, protect the rest of us, and instead they dump huge costs on us. Something isn’t right about that. So, I propose that we stop all federal government payouts to those people, whether payments are direct or indirect. Instead we’ll pump that money into hospital staffing and facilities.

The refusers – our rugged individuals – are making the problem. They can damn well pay for the harm they do.

Snakes

From David Brock, writing about how he didn’t see the awfulness of Trump coming:

He was an obvious pig (see the “Access Hollywood” tapes [and 19 accusations of rape]), a fraud (multiple failed businesses and bankruptcies) and a cheat (stiffing mom-and-pop vendors). Not to mention the blatant racism and misogyny.

We knew all of that in 2016, but Trump got elected anyway. All those self-righteous evangelicals, the freedom fanatics, the enraged and resentful, the racists and homophobes, the Hillary haters and the rest voted for Trump anyway, somehow excusing or ignoring the miserable truth of him. I’m reminded of the story of the boy and the snake.

The little boy was playing in the woods when suddenly a snake popped up and hissed. The boy was frightened, then amazed when the snake spoke to him.

“Hi, little boy. Let’s play.”

The boy cowered and said, “But you’re a poisonous snake. If I play with you you’ll bite me and I’ll die.”

“No I won’t,” said the snake. I’m a nice snake and I won’t bite you. You look like a nice little boy and I just want to play. Come on, let’s play.”

The boy slowly came forward and soon the boy and the snake were playing, rolling in the leaves on the ground and laughing. Then the snake bit him.

“You bit me!” screamed the boy. “You promised you wouldn’t bite me. That’s not fair.”

Said the snake, “You knew what I was when you picked me up.”

Those who ignored the reality of Trump in 2016 and all the apologists since then know what he is. So do the cowardly politicians who proclaim what they know to be false in order to be in his thrall, as they mouth his democracy destroying lies.

Brock was fooled in 2016 and for a while longer. There is no way for any of us to be fooled now. We know what he is. It falls to all of us to refuse the lying snake and all of his enabling supplicants, lest we be terminally poisoned.

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The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!)

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  3. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  4. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

D’oh!


Reading time – 3:09; Viewing time – 4:28  .  .  .

Trump’s temper tantrum list – and this is just a short, partial list – came to me in a true Homer Simpson moment. Here’s what he’s done:

  • – Backed the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accords, a plan for global climate protection that was agreed to by 195 nations
  • – Eliminated the 2012 CAFE standards that would dramatically reduce the use of fossil fuels that contribute to global warming
  • – Backed the U.S. out of the TPP, thus giving enormous leverage on international trade to China, yet another step toward the U.S. becoming Number 2
  • – Cancelled DACA, putting nearly a million kids and young adults at risk by betraying them
  • – Opened our national parks and other protected lands and oceans to fossil fuel exploration
  • – Backed the U.S. out of the JCPOA, a successful, single focus agreement that prevents Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, leaving us a future choice between accepting Iran as a nuclear state or starting a war
  • – Promoted and signed a tax plan that overwhelmingly (85%) benefits already very wealthy people and corporations and blows off the rest of us in just a few years

This started when President Obama committed the greatest of sins, the most heinous of indictable crimes when he mocked Donald Trump at White House Correspondents Dinners (here at about 20 minutes).

Trump, a whining, sniveling little victim always, was infuriated and we know that whenever he thinks he’s been wronged (which is pretty much every day) he goes into full court press attack mode. And that’s what he’s been doing since he got his hands on the reins.

Trump has stupidly, childishly, clumsily done everything possible to erase the legacy of Barack Obama. The sole exception occurs whenever he can blame anything, whether real and imagined, on his predecessor. It doesn’t matter a whit to Trump if what he does harms our people or our country or the entire planet. He doesn’t care if he puts us at risk of civilization destroying nuclear war or any other consequence as long as he can diminish Barack Obama. That is the tyrant child we have as a president.

And another thing  .  .  .

Many Republicans in Congress and our nominally Republican president hate the very notion of helping poor people. “It’s your fault,” and “Help yourself,” intoned the pizza king presidential candidate, Herman Cain. Conservatives hate welfare, like the food stamps that make it so that poor children have something to eat.

Making that cruelty to our most at-risk people even worse are the slimy  reforms proposed by conservatives. People like Paul Ryan call for welfare changes that they brand with chest thumping, patriotic sounding names and then they lie about their programs and the adverse effect they’ll have on poor people. That’s the slime.

Repealing all welfare is likely politically impossible, but there must be a solution somewhere to this anathema to the conservative soul. Well, I just happen to have a solution that should satisfy everyone.

A kid in a family with an out of work coal miner dad in West Virginia doesn’t have the same resources for building an economically successful life as, say, little Donald Trump did. He began life with huge wealth in his lap, and just look at what he claims to have built from that. It’s obvious from that comparison – the poor kid in West Virginia and the rich Donald in New York – that the solution to our welfare mess is for everyone to start with a fortune.

That is why I propose that we give every current and future poor person a one-time $1 million stake to use to create their own life of wealth. Just imagine the millions of Americans with enormous wealth that this insightful program will produce. We’ll do away with all other welfare programs and that will make conservatives happy.

Best of all, the rest of us won’t have to listen to any more disingenuous and slimy conservative welfare reform schemes.

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Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

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